President Donald Trump began the holiday break by telling friends he invited to Mar-a-Lago for dinner that “You all just got a lot richer,” referring to the Republican tax bill — which largely benefits the wealthy. Trump told his guests this Friday evening just hours after signing the bill into law, according to CBS News.
Trump likes to argue the tax bill will not benefit him personally or high-income earners more broadly, and instead protects low- and middle-income earners. He’s repeatedly made this claim to the American public in speeches.
“This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing, believe me,” he said last month in Missouri while pitching the GOP tax bill. “This is not good for me. Me, it’s not so — I have some very wealthy friends. Not so happy with me, but that’s OK. You know, I keep hearing Schumer: ‘This is for the wealthy.’ Well, if it is, my friends don’t know about it.”
Trump’s repeated claim that he nor any of his wealthy friends would benefit is false. As PolitiFact noted, Trump “should come out far ahead” under this tax bill. Independent analysis by the New York Times and NBC found he could save $1 billion dollars. Washington Post’s Greg Sargent recently echoed these reports:
Rs keep claiming their plan is fundamentally a middle class tax cut in the short term.
Here's the reality, using TPC data averages.
Bottom quintiles get relatively tiny tax cuts.
Top 1% gets over $50,000
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) December 19, 2017
It’s impossible to definitively know how much Trump benefits as he refuses to release his tax returns. The New York Times and NBC used a leaked 2005 tax return and his estimated wealth in its analysis. However, the tax law will undoubtedly help top earners.
“There’s clearly no question that the benefits of this tax break are going to go primarily to the top 4 percent [of earners],” senior fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy Matt Gardner told CNBC’s John Schoen.
According to the Tax Policy Center (TPC), about 90 percent of earners receive a tax break under the GOP tax bill, which adds $1.5trillion to the deficit over a decade. However this tax break is temporary because most changes to individual filers expire after 2025, due to Senate budget rules. The corporate tax cut — from a 35 percent to 21 percent rate, however, is permanent.
Those top earners are the exclusive demographic at Mar-A-Lago: only the most elite can afford to this kind of direct access to the president. Since Trump’s inauguration, initiation fees at the club have risen to $200,000 and the annual membership has gone up to $15,000. That doesn’t include additional fees for events, like the New Year’s Eve party, where tickets are as much as $750 per person.